Sainsbury's has this morning (14 November) looked to the future with a set of robust half-year results and the announcement of a venture to develop its property portfolio.

The UK retailer, which has endured two failed takeover attempts this year, booked a 20% rise in pre-tax profits during the six months to 6 October.

Profits reached GBP232m (US$483m) as like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 4%. Total sales climbed 4.7% to just under GBP10bn.

Earlier this month, Sainsbury's saw long-time suitor Delta Two, the Qatar-backed investment fund, pull out of a GBP10.6bn bid for the company due to the global credit crunch.

In April, private equity firm CVC aborted its bid for Sainsbury's following opposition from the Sainsbury family, which holds an 18% stake in the business.

Chairman Philip Hampton insisted the half-year results "demonstrated our continued ability to grow the business".

Hampton said: "Sainsbury's has great potential under the leadership of its strong management team. The company remains committed to completing its recovery plan and continuing to deliver improved performance."

Sainsbury's hopes its property venture with UK developers Land Securities will appease investors looking for the retailer to unlock some value from its estate.

The venture, which will run for seven years, will own the freeholds of three properties with a combined value of GBP113.4m.